Comrade Lulamile Sotaka, Head of the WFTU Africa Regional Office, represented WFTU at the founding Congres of TUCOSWA, the Trade Union Confederation of Swaziland that took place on March 9-11, 2012 in Manzini, Swaziland.
Here is his greeting speech:
Leaders of delegations to this congress
Leaders of fraternal organizations
I bring you warm fraternal and revolutionary greetings from the WFTU’s leadership and its 82 million members, in all the continents of the world.
It is indeed an honour for us to be invited to witness and be part of the unfolding of history taking place here today. The theme of your congress, “Consolidating working class power to achieve social justice” is most appropriate in the present developments in the country here and actually in the whole world. The role of organized workers, in the struggle that seeks to change the conditions of social injustice, has never been more urgent.
The countries of the Third World today face the scourge of poverty, unemployment, inequality, social injustices, high food prices, wars, etc. which are perpetrated by the rich ruling classes of the developed countries. In a word, the imperialists through their system of international monopoly capitalism and finance capital are putting a strangle hold on the poor countries through imposing the Structural Adjustment Programme which creates a situation of permanent debt and exploitation of their natural resources.
All this is done behind the veil of lies of assistance to the poor countries. But the reality reveals something totally different. The imperialists use bodies and agencies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Through these agencies they set conditions for the so-called assistance which change the conditions of the recipient countries and make them even worse.
They set conditionalities such as privatization; outsourcing; reduction of the value of the currencies of the poor countries; etc. etc. for the repayment of the loans. They also make sure that they impose macro-economic policies and foreign policies that open the flood gates for the multinational corporations to come in to exploit the resources of these countries and the cheapened labour power of the workers. They create conditions that allow them to exploit without hindrance. They dictate to the governments of the poor countries on how they should run the affairs of their countries not caring that their dictates are not in the interests of the citizens of these countries.. The governments of the poor countries in turn find themselves unable to meet the obligation of providing quality social services to the citizens of their countries. Social services such as education, healthcare provision, housing, provision of clean running water, electricity, etc. are turned into profit making commodities for multinational monopolies, the big national monopolies and their comprador lackeys.
The quality of these basic social services also deteriorates because it is the profit that must come first and not the lives of the people or workers that matter. What matters is profit, profit, and profit at all costs. The governments that must subject their citizens to conditions like these lose their sovereignty to the imperialists. All they must do is to implement and enforce the dictates of their imperialist masters. This process erodes and undermines the universal democratic principle of the rule of the people by the people.
The situation becomes even worse where democracy is not allowed at all. Where there is despotic dictatorship and where free political activity is outlawed. This is the situation that the imperialists like most! They do not care if people die from famine and from pandemics such as HIV/AIDS. So long as they are able to accumulate maximum profits from loans and from the so-called direct foreign investment, they do not care a hoot.
The chase for super profits drives the imperialists mad all over the globe. They must dictate everything and anything. They must enforce their will on the people and their states – they must steal from the countries that have natural resources such as oil, minerals, etc. by force – they must stoke war everywhere, as they do in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria, very soon in Iran and North Korea, the list is endless, in order to dominate and divide the world amongst themselves. They must starve the revolutionary and peace loving people of Cuba through economic blockades and destruction of their families through arrests of the Cuban patriots. They must destroy the economic life of the European working class through imposing austerity measures on the governments of Greece, Spain, Portugal, etc.
Indeed, the system of imperialism has reached its stage of decay and it must be overthrown. In agreement with this view point, Klaus Arnecke and Stefan Engel write: “There can only be an end to any neo-colonial plunder and slavery when imperialism, along with its puppets and lackeys, is overthrown by united effort and genuine socialism is built up. Humanity certainly does need a truly new order, a world order which permits every nation the maximum satisfaction of its constantly growing material and cultural societal needs.”
This historical congress takes place at a time when unity of the workers and the working class as a whole in individual countries and the whole world, remains as the only answer to the problems that are faced by the working class. It is through the international proletarian solidarity and the united front struggles of the oppressed and exploited masses that we can defeat neo-colonialism, monopoly capitalism and imperialism.
In conclusion, the WFTU welcomes the militant and class-oriented effort of uniting the workers of Swaziland into one formidable and democratic federation. We stand together with the workers of Swaziland and other political and progressive mass formations of the people of Swaziland in their struggle to achieve democracy. We firmly stand on the side of the forces that must fight and achieve democracy in Swaziland. We will walk every step of the way side by side in solidarity with you until victory for democracy is achieved.
“The WFTU as a class-oriented international trade union organization has as its prime objective the emancipation of the working people, from the yoke of capitalist exploitation, by means of struggle,” We therefore struggle:
• Against all forms of exploitation of people and to obtain and guarantee living and working conditions for all workers which would allow them the widest possible benefits from the fruits of their labour, in order to obtain for them and their families the time and the means to live in conditions appropriate to our epoch, which is one marked by the headlong progress of science and technology
• Against colonialism, imperialism, domination, subservience and expansionism in the economic, social, political and cultural spheres for the right of all people to self determination; for freedom, sovereignty and security of nations; non interference in their internal affairs, respect of their political, economic and social independence, and for the establishment of a new and just international social order
• For the elimination of racism, sexism and any other forms of discrimination
• For the right to full employment and guarantee of this right”
Today, in the era of the plunder by the international monopoly capitalism and imperialism that has never been experienced by humankind before, the World Federation of Trade Unions stands out as the only international trade union movement that sees the solution in the overthrowal of imperialism through struggle and not through class collaboration. We wish your congress a resounding success.
Forward to the unity of the workers!
Long live international working class solidarity!
Down with imperialism!
Viva TUCOSWA Viva!